I am currently studying criminology in Maynooth University and I’m going into my third and final year. I chose to do criminology because, honestly, I didn’t have a clue of what I wanted to do when I graduate and I thought criminology sounded really interesting. I also study English because writing had been a passion of mine since I was young. I thought I would give criminology a go because I’ve always been fascinated when hearing about crimes that take place around the world when they are reported on the news and I enjoy reading and watching thriller books and films so I thought criminology would suit me well. I also wanted to see what makes someone do something criminal. What is their thinking at the time or what in their past has made them act that way?
I didn’t know what to expect when starting my course and I didn’t have anyone to ask because criminology was a brand new course in Maynooth in 2017 when I started, but I went in with an open mind. When I sat in my first few lectures, I knew it was for me. Hearing about what topics will be covered in each module throughout the year made me feel like I made the right course choice.
In first year the modules are broad and cover a lot of the basics about what causes criminal behaviour, the science behind it, society’s opinion of criminals and the criminal justice system. Second year breaks down the information more and modules like gender, media and mental health are offered. This is helpful if you know what job you want after you graduate like, for example, if you want to be a forensic psychologist, you would focus more on mental health and psychological based modules. The modules are still broad enough that if you don’t know what job you want for sure, like me, you will learn a wide range of information. Third year will break down this information even more and delve deeper into specific topics like terrorism, victimology and youth justice. These modules seem intriguing so I hope they live up to the expectations I have as first and second year have done so far.
Tutorials are really helpful to break down work that is covered in lectures. Lectures usually have over 150 students, which some people may find intimidating if they have a question. Tutorials are the perfect place to ask questions and have a group discussions as there are fewer people in the class. They are also a great opportunity to practice your public speaking skills as you sometimes have to do presentations as part of your group work. Tutorials also give you a great chance to look more in depth at some case studies which I find really interesting. In one tutorial for example, the class was given a court case and we were split up into two groups, plaintiffs and defendants. We then had a mock trial where we had to give statements as to how long we thought the defendant should serve in prison. As these classes have around 15-25 people, it makes speaking up about work a lot easier.
Hopefully this small piece of information about a relatively new subject to Ireland, which is only offered in a select amount of colleges, is helpful and will give you an insight into what to expect when studying criminology. If you’re not happy with the course you’re studying and think that criminology might be for you, I’d highly recommend getting in touch with the colleges that offer criminology and learning more about how you can get involved.